BLOG POST MAY 3rd, 2015
I thought I’d write a blog for beginning soapers. and those of whom are considering this fun DIY project. I’ll talk a little bit about carrier oils what function they serve. I’ll also mention a few basic essential oils. I hope this article helps soapers understand how to formulate a basic recipe, what oils should you choose and why. I’ll also explain safety precautions, items you’ll need, starter carrier oils, and essential oils. Although, I recommend mastering a batch before adding fragrance, and color. I’ll also give two beginning recipes, and explain the Saponification process and the need for curing the soap before use. These recipes are great for beginners, And I would also use it as a basic bar. Most of the ingredients you need will be in your own pantry, except perhaps a digital scale, a stick blender, distilled water, and sodium hydroxide. You can find the later at smaller hardware stores, such as ACE. They usually keep it locked up, because of the nefarious acts by those of whom enjoy breaking the law. Just let a store associate know you’re a soap maker, and they’ll grab some for you.
All of the oils I suggest for the beginners recipes can be found at your local Target, Walmart, Kroger, ect. As for your mold, you can use a silicone loaf pan, baking pan, small sturdy 1/2 gallon waxed cardboard milk container, a small cardboard box, a cheap plastic rectangular Rubbermaid container between 12-16 oz. If you use a cardboard box or a metal baking pan. Line it with glad press & seal, or freezer paper. Metal, particularly aluminum, can cause a chemical reaction with the alkaline. I’ll list the link below about how to line your mold. Hobby Lobby is a Great place for beginners. They carry small amounts of cocoa butter, Shea butter, melt and pour, and beeswax. Once you become comfortable with your base recipe you can begin adding essential oils, and/or colorant Also check out their baking section. Soaping is fun and addictive. Don’t become complacent. Always were eye protection, shoes, gloves long sleeves, pants, and a mask in a well ventilated area, I use the exhaust fan above our stove. ALWAYS ADD LYE TO WATER, never the other way round, or you’ll end up with an explosion caused by an exothermic reaction because the lye is trapped under the water. If you were to add the lye on top of the water, the heat would not be able to release the heat, and gases. Therefore causing the explosion. Sodium hydroxide (lye) is used in many of our foods,( e.g. Soft pretzels.) It’s nothing to fear, but to respect. Remember that you’re dealing with an alkaline, which is a caustic substance, and should be careful. I equate it to cooking. Cooking with boiling oil is just as dangerous, but we don’t think twice about it. If by a slim chance you do get some on your skin you may not see it, but feel it. It begins by itching then stinging. If you think you have accidentally gotten some on you, simply rinse with cool water, wash with soap, pat dry. As long as you caught it as it began itching, or before, you’ll be fine. (There is a dangerous misconception that vinager should be used to neutralize a lye burn on human skin. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. The vinager exacerbates the lye burn due to the sebum created by our skin.) *Please wear full safely goggles! It’s one thing to get active lye on your skin, but significantly more serious if you were to get it into your eye. Don’t get discouraged. It’s so fun, and it’s a scientific and artistic outlet. After one batch you’ll be hooked.😊
Lining molds with freezer paper. Courtesy of Holly from Missouri River soap company.
My YouTube channel. New, but very informative about different butters, oils, essential oils, design Technique’s, and more. I try to post new videos at least 2-3 times a week. Our memory card was somehow damage, we’re waiting for a replacement, but until then, there are some great video’s available.
Beginners recipe #1 Handmade Castile (olive oil) Soap
Olive oil 100%= 16oz.
Distilled water:6.08 oz.
Essential oil optional.50 oz. (I recommend lavender or tea tree for beginners, they both have skin soothing, antibacterial properties, they’re relatively inexpensive, and easy to find.)
*Prepare work area
** put on safety equipment
I always soap between 70-100 degrees, when you become more advanced it will give you more time to work.
Add lye to water in ventilated area, **always wearing safety gear.
Wait until the lye cools to within 5-10 degrees of your oils
Add lye solution to oils, as well as you essential oils, if you choose.
Stick blend until you reach a light medium trace
Add to mold
Allow the soap to saponify in the mold for, at least, 2-3 days.
Remove from the mold, and cut your bars of soap
Let cure 4-8 weeks before using
The water solution has evaporated, and the saponification (the water, sodium hydroxide, and oils turning to soap,) is completed within 2-4 days, BUT the longer you let it cure the harder, stronger, and more beautiful your soap will become. Also the longer it cures, the longer the bar lasts. I allow my soaps to cure 6-10 weeks, depending on the amount of hard oils in the batch. The bar I’m using now has held up to two showers a day for 8 weeks, and still going.😊
Recipe #2 olive oil & coconut oil
Olive oil 65%
Coconut oil 35%
Lye: 2.31 oz.
Essential oil or fragrance oil .5 oz.
Melt you coconut oil & combine with your olive oil
Add lye to water dissolve
Once both oils & lye water are between 70-100 degrees add lye mixture to oils, add fragrance, if desired.
Blend to a light -medium trace
Pour into mold
Follow the same directions as above
(If you’d like more bubbles add a 1 tsp. of honey or bee pollen) allow it to dissolve while the oils are still warm.
This chart is extremely helpful. It explains the fatty acid properties of Base Oils and what they each contribute to a bar of soap. They also recommend percentages of use in soap recipes. For example, next to Coconut Oil, they tell you not to use more than 30-35%, because using more than that will dry you out. You can compose an entire recipe using this chart! For our test recipe, I chose to use 42% Canola Oil, 29% Coconut Oil and 29% Olive Oil. This will produce a creamy, stable lather. I converted the percentages to ounces based on the capacity of the mold I’m using.
I use EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This is a great resource if you have a favorite product and want to know its potential hazard rating. I only felt comfortable using products with a rating lower than 4.
Scents, Colors and Exfoliants
These are the last ingredients to go into your soap. As you’re creating your own original recipes, always remember to write down the exact amounts of everything you’re using. When you want to recreate your perfect batch, you really want to be able to replicate it! There have been many times I rushed through a batch and somehow nailed it, only to realize I never write down my additions. Anyway, the theme here is natural, I recommend new soapers use only Essential Oils (EO), they are far less likely to accelerate trace, rice, or cause extreme discoloration. As you become more advanced, and know how to deal with acceleration, deceleration, ricing, when to water discount, ect if stick with eo’s. The average formula for Essential Oils goes like this: However, follow the manufacturers percentage rates per pound of oils. This is simply a guideline.
• 0.7 ounces per pound of Base Oils for most Essential Oils
• 0.9 ounces per pound of Base Oils for Citrus Oils
• 0.4 ounces per pound of Base Oils for more pervasive oils like mints and spices
The “per pound of Base Oils” is referring to the total weight of your oils. For our test recipe, the total weight is 28 ounces, or 1 lb. 12 oz. (16 oz. in a pound). If you make a batch and find the scent too weak or too strong using this formula, you can make slight adjustments for future batches.
An example of a soap recipe using soapcal.
When you’re ready to calculate, and make your own soap, visit
There you will plug in your oil percentages, and it will calculate your water, lye, fragrance, and oil amounts.
You can reach me here
Pintrest, Instagram, Tsu, and Twitter @HLEIGH76
FB Business Page WillaRose Soap Company
WillaRose Soap Club FB
I’m wiped out in the Etsy shop right now. My dotcom is being built, so mostly all of my ordered come through my business page. If you’d like me to list items for you in Etsy, I will, or I can send an invoice from my FB business page, WillaRose Soap Company.
I hope this is helpful, and you enjoy soaping as much as I do.
Heather Watson, Ph.D.
WillaRose Soap Company
*Making soap is fun but serious, please follow all safety precautions, watch how-to videos, and do your research. I’m sharing my love of soaping with you, as well as recipes, but I’m not responsible for any injuries, miscalculations, or accidents.